As a hunter, gun admirer and native Montanan, I was shocked and disappointed to read the April 18 front-page article “Senate rejects curbs on guns.” I am a huge proponent of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms, but 90 percent of Americans (myself included) supported expanded background checks. And yet such a proposal did not pass the Senate.
If gun legislation is not the answer, then those who opposed this measure need to find a better suggestion: perhaps better mental health care. But health care has never been a popular issue either, has it?
How many more people have to needlessly die before we do something real to address this issue?
Meg Simpson, Arlington
We cannot continue to allow a vocal minority to rule. As awful as the April 17 vote on the Manchin-Toomey amendment, which would have required the expansion of background checks on gun sales, was, it pointed out an even greater problem: the utter dysfunction of the Senate.
Why does the Senate no longer function on a majority-rules basis?
The proposed legislation was supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, yet a minority bloc in the Senate prevented passage. This is a complete distortion of the rules under which our government was founded.
Maybe this will be the time that the “silent majority” finally finds its voice and moves our country in the right direction.
Deborah V. Rogers, Bethesda
Rationality trumped emotion with the Senate’s vote on gun legislation. Let’s keep it that way. Government officials and others should stop making a fetish of regulating and limiting gun ownership. People would do better by taking responsibility and caring for problems associated with members of their own families, neighborhoods and communities.
The simplistic approaches to solving social problems pushed by President Obama and Vice President Biden, and many media organizations, have accomplished little more than encouraging people without adequate training or experience to purchase guns. There’s a legacy.
David Alan Coia, Arlington
The April 18 editorial “The Senate misfires” also did some misfiring. The background-check measure contained language that forbids the attorney general from using these records for compiling any kind of registration database. But what about the heads of other federal agencies? On that, the bill is silent, which means the secretary of homeland security, for example, could compile such a database.
The bill did not, as the editorial claimed, “specifically [outlaw] any national gun registration scheme.”
Steve A. Brown, Springfield
“Shame on you!” rang from the Senate gallery as the background-check measure failed, prompting the eviction of the two women who shouted it. Unfortunately, the police evicted the wrong parties from the Senate chambers. All 46 of them remained on the floor.
Eliot Daley, Princeton, N.J.
Pity the gun lobby. It is so intent on protecting itself from tyranny that it has become the tyrant, imposing its will on an unwilling populace and blocking the very democracy it purports to be protecting.
Norman Maynard, Silver Spring
In the wake of the background-check vote, there is the expected hue and cry to “vote them out of office.” Two thoughts: What do these outraged citizens think motivated the senators to vote the way they did? Perhaps these senators believed that if they cast their ballot differently, they would be, in fact, voted out of office by their gun-loving constituents?
Maybe the focus of fury should be directed at President Obama, Vice President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who, once again, did a poor job of managing a Senate vote but a good job of pointing fingers.
Ken C. Mahieu, McLean